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La Loi du marché

51 year old Thierry, played by Vincent Lindon who won the Silven Palm at Cannes 2015 for his performance, loses his job as an IT engineer and struggles hard to keep his life together.


Thierry is 51, but he’s one of those men who have always looked older than they are. His eyebrows are permanently lifted and so the folds on his forehead are deep. Thierry is a big, robust man. Maybe he seemed energetic once when he still had his job as a machine programmer, but the company laid off a lot of people a few months ago, even though they were cost-effective. The workers’ council wants to hold management responsible, but Thierry doesn’t think much of that. It’s more important for his mental health to look to the future, he says. But there’s nothing in sight. The employment office is making him retrain as a crane operator, but no one will hire a crane operator with no construction experience. Five lost months, says Thierry. He will soon only be getting 500 euros a month from them and he won’t be able to pay his bills which include 300 euros a month for his disabled child’s schooling. He does everything he can for his education, laughs at his jokes, washes and clothes him, and suffers all kinds of humiliations. What does love towards a person cost? What if someone who you fleetingly know dies because of it?
Stéphane Brizés film is sometimes akin to Dietrich Brüggemann’s KREUZWEG. Both spend the first half on exemplary scenes of the passion path. Brüggemann’s camera doesn’t move at all while here it keeps swinging from one person to the other. The film cuts don’t offer release from the terrible situation in both films. Brizés film is better conceived and better acted, so good in fact, that main actor Vincent Lindon won the Silver Palme for Best Actor in Cannes. Lindon shows the highest form of acting here without needing to simulate emotional breakdowns. A facial gesture is enough but you can sense it’s within him, you can even assume what he’s thinking. He reveals himself in his posture, his doubtful looks to the side and to the ground in front people he thinks can judge him. Thierry is a man who is about to explode but he’s not the type that explodes easily.
Those who believe that social realism is seemingly dead will be shaken up by this film. Between humiliations at the employment office or job application training in an assessment center where he’s told he doesn’t dance rock ‘n roll right. He puts a record on later, at home, and dances with his wife like he wants to and Thierry’s sad face is suddenly glowing. This fleeing moment of happiness isn’t just a requirement, it’s a necessity: Thierry’s humanity can only fully unfurl if he is happy.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: La Loi du marché
Frankreich 2015, 93 min
Language: French
Genre: Drama
Director: Stéphane Brizé
Author: Stéphane Brizé, Olivier Gorce
DOP: Eric Dumont
Montage: Anne Klotz
Distributor: Temperclayfilm
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Karine De Mirbeck, Matthieu Schaller
Release: 17.03.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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